How Can I Clip A Dog's Nail?

Keeping a dog's claws in perfect condition is imperative to avoid leg injuries. If we acquire the right tools, it is possible to cut dog nails ourselves. Of course, we need the right method along with these tools. So here is the step-by-step guide to cutting your dog's claws at home, with some helpful tips to ensure it goes smoothly.

Why is it important to cut your dog's nails?

Dogs can help you de-stress after a long day and ensure you don't feel lonely at home. However, there are some things that you need to do for your pet to make sure that he is healthy. One of the most important things is to keep your pet's nails short, which means you need to do dog nail clipping yourself.

Dog Nail Clipping

Normally dogs wear their nails down when walking on hard ground. It might only sometimes happen. We should check them ourselves to see if they are too long. If a dog's nails grow excessively, it will be unable to walk properly and comfortably. They begin to adopt awkward postures leading to serious health problems such as sprains or injuries to their paws. 

Also, the nail can grow so long that it burrows into the skin leading to pain and potential infection.

How often should the nails be cut?

A dog's nails should not exceed the pads of its paws. As soon as we see them approach the paw pad's end, it is time for a trim.

What does it take to cut a dog's nails?

You'll need the appropriate tools to cut a dog's nails at home without hurting them. For small and medium-sized dogs, the most advisable thing is to use a pair of clippers, preferably with a guard like this.

Dog Nail Clipper

It's important to note that trimmers come in several sizes. So, choosing the size best suits our dog is essential.

Choosing a guillotine-style clipper with a more effective design is best for larger dogs. And if we are still determining our ability to trim a dog's nails with clippers as they do not like to be manipulated, we can still use a nail grinder instead. It's easy to use and allows us to file the dog's nails to the perfect length.

A step-by-step guide

Now that we have the right tools, we can talk about the formation of the dog's nails and how far we should cut.

  • How many parts of your dog's nail should you cut?
  • Inside the nail is living tissue which we should never cut. Since this would cause great pain to the animal, the tissue can be observed by looking at the nail in the light showing a line of pink coloration which doesn't extend to the tip. 

    It's our cutting limit; we must also cut in a straight line or at a slight angle that follows the nail's natural shape. If your dog has black nails and cannot see the tissue, you should place the dog on a flat surface and trim the nails on the ground. Now we start with these steps.

  • How to familiarize your dog with nail trimming?

  •  If this is the first time you've trimmed your dog's nails, you should familiarize them with the clippers and relate them to positive stimuli.

Trimmed Your Dog's Nails
  • To do this, let them smell the clippers and give them a reward when they do. It must do it for a few days before clipping. Create a relaxed environment and accustom your dog to being touched on their legs. Suppose you still need to do so. Ask another person to help. 

  • By holding the dog, grab one of the nails and examine it to see the living tissue and know how far to cut the nail with clippers in a quick and safe motion. Taking too long can make the dog nervous, and they'll try to escape. Repeat with all the other nails. 

Cutting black dog nails

It is difficult because we have to locate that vein to see how far back we can clip these nails.

Identifying where the vein is on darker nails is very difficult; there's only one way to find out: to start cutting gradually. Vein grows with the length of the nail, so the longer the nail, you can expect the vein to be closer to the end of that nail.

Once you see the vein's dark center, it looks like a vertical eyeball. Don't clip any further than that. Even though we're not cutting enough off, we're cutting as much as we can off again to see that dark center that is the vein. Just looks like a vertical eyeball. It's darker in the center, which is the vein.

For black nails, you can use the grinder. Please turn it on and place the nail in the right part, following the product instructions. If you cut too much, stay calm. Stop the bleeding with the powder and reassure the dogs that they are coming.

Touch their paws and nails regularly so they get used to being handled.

Dog Black Nails

To dos and not to dos

  • Present the clipping tools positively and reassure them not to be scared.
  • Avoid cutting your dog's nails when stressed, nervous, or in a hurry. It's best to carry this out when you can.
  • During the nail-cutting session, don't forget to use words of encouragement and reassuring pets. So they associate the experience positively.
  • If you notice you're too tired or nervous, stop and do it at another, more appropriate time.
  • Synthetic pheromones can create a relaxed environment. If you adopt your dog as a puppy, start this routine as soon as possible.
  • Only use clippers that are dog specific.
  • Be patient and positive, as not all dogs will quickly get used to this routine. If your dog has a lot of fur on their paws, it's best to trim this before clipping its nails.

When to go to the veterinarian?

If your dog is too uncomfortable being manipulated or shows aggression during a clipping, it's best to go to a vet or professional groomer to have their nails cut.

Also, if your dog's nails are black, it may be preferable to visit a specialist.


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